Mole or Melanoma: How to Find the Difference

Mole or Melanoma: How to Find the Difference?

A common mole is nothing but an evenly colored dark brown or black spot on the surface of the skin. In most of the cases, the moles are flat and in some cases raised. Also known as “Melanocytes”, moles are a common part of the skin and do not cause any type of harm to the person. In majority of the cases, moles are formed by constant exposure to sun and genetics. Most people have moles during birth and some develop moles in the later part of their life.

How moles are formed?

In a majority of the cases, moles are formed by birth but it is not the case all the time. Constant exposure to sun and other external factors lead to the formation of moles on the surface of the skin. Moles are clusters of pigmented cells that appear in black or brown. The color intensifies if the exposure to the sun is more. Other factors that lead to the creation of moles include puberty, pregnancy, hormonal change, etc.

Are moles dangerous?

There are two types of moles namely the common moles and dysplastic. While the former is normal, the later may develop into Melanoma. People with dysplastic moles have higher chances of developing Melanoma, but not in all the cases. Certain moles have hairs that grow from them, but even then they are not dangerous. The problem comes when the mole changes shape and color. One needs to visit a doctor right away if there is a change in color or shape of the mole.

Mole or Melanoma – how to identify?

To prevent and cure Melanoma, one must be able to identify the difference between a Melanoma and a mole. Given below are some differences.

  1. In most of the cases, a mole will be round in shape with even borders whereas a Melanoma mole will have a rugged shape with uneven borders.
  2. Moles are smaller in shape about (5 to 6 millimeters in length) whereas moles that cause Melanoma will be larger in shape.
  3. In majority of the cases, a regular mole will remain the same color whereas this is not the case with moles that develop into Melanoma.
  4. Regular moles do not itch or become crusty, if otherwise it is an early warning sign of a Melanoma mole.
  5. In worst cases, the moles may become red, oozy and start to bleed.
  6. Melanoma moles tend to be scaly and itchy. They also come in different colors that range from blue to pink.

What causes Melanoma?

Melanoma can be caused by various factors that may include freckles on the skin, extreme exposure to sun and other chemicals, genetic mutations, etc. People with light colored eyes also have the chances of developing Melanoma in later part of their lives. Stress is another contributing factor of Melanoma. In certain cases, Melanoma disappears on its own and does not create any further problem. However, treatment should be taken on time and proper preventive measures should be taken to address the problem.

Early warning signs of Melanoma

  • One has to be cautious when the sores do not heal and start to itch.
  • Redness or swelling could indicate an underlying problem.
  • When the mole pigment spreads to the surrounding skin, it is an indication of Melanoma.
  • Oozing and bleeding on the bump is also another indication of Melanoma.

Melanoma Prevention Methods

By following simple tips, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of Melanoma. Given below are some of the tips to follow to reduce Melanoma.

  1. While going out, it is advisable to use sunscreen to reduce the harmful effects of UV rays.
  2. Sunglasses and sun-protective clothing will help protect your skin from harsh sun rays.
  3. Avoid going out when the sun is at its peak. This will not only darken your skin, but cause severe damage.
  4. It is mandatory to avoid indoor tanning beds as they induce Melanoma by up to 75%. Research shows that young women, particularly in the age group 25 to 29 are at high risk of Melanoma due to indoor tanning.
  5. Children must also be protected against Melanoma through proper protection methods.
  6. Having regular checkup is also a must to identify symptoms related to Melanoma.
  7. Newborns should also be kept away from the harsh rays of the sun.
  8. One must also be aware of Melanoma and do self-checkup once-in-a-while.